Thin Places

We spend our summers in Madison, Connecticut. I forget the peacefulness of this place every year until we drive up and see the water and smell the salty air and feel the breeze. It is what the Celtic Christians called a thin place—a place where heaven and earth touch, where God seems more readily present, more easily accessed.

It is easier here to pray, especially prayers of praise and of gratitude. It is easier to carve out time to read and write and reflect. It is easier to avoid the distractions of the phone and the internet and the television. It is easier to delight in our daughter—as she pours water from one cup to another in her wading pool, as she relishes a bowl of chocolate ice cream, as she shouts "Yay!"—arms overhead, eyes wide—upon sighting a boat on the water. It is a refuge. It is a thin place.

But we only come here for the summer or an occasional weekend during the school year. And I suspect that if we lived here year round, some of the magic would dissipate. I would wake up cranky some mornings, find myself blind to Penny's discoveries, feel my shoulders tighten as bills and phone calls and appointments lined up.

The gift of this place, in other words, is present only to the degree that I am able to receive it. And although it is harder to discover thin places when I don't have a view of the sea, I know they exist everywhere. In that moment each night when I watch Penny sleeping. In the warmth of Peter's hand upon my leg as we read in bed. In the question a man of a one-month old with Down syndrome asked yesterday. After 45 minutes of conversation, he said, "Does your daughter call you Mama?" It was a thin place, a sacred moment, to be able to tell him that his daughter will know him as her father, that she will love and be loved.

This blog is intended to be about discovering, and remembering, thin places. It is meant to uncover Ideas, relationships, points of connection, moments of deep beauty that draw us towards one another, and towards the Holy One.

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